Environment and Forests Minister A Raja on Thursday said that due to an increase in carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, global temperatures may increase to 0.8 and 2.6 degrees Celsius during 1990-2050 and between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Replying to a Calling Attention Motion moved by the Congress’s Jyotiraditya Scindia in Lok Sabha, Raja said the third report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001 provides these estimates of climatic change. He admitted that climatic changes due to global warming would have an adverse impact on agriculture, the coastal belt and Himalayan glaciers. The government will formulate strategies to meet this challenge after the panel submits its fourth report next year.
Earlier, Scindia drew the government’s attention to the impending dangers of global warming, which he felt has already started showing serious affects. Basing his arguments on various international studies, he said the findings portray an alarming picture, which could have a catastrophic effect on countries like India where 70 per cent of the population survives on agriculture.
Stating that the 1996-2005 period was the warmest decade in the recent past, he cautioned that both rural and urban societies faced serious danger of extinction if this area was overlooked for another decade.
In a forceful articulation of the global warming challenges, the Guna MP said the glaciers in the Himalayas were receding at a rapid pace due to this and it could lead to floods and consequent destruction in many parts of the country. Portraying a post-global warming scenario, he said the fast melting glaciers would lead to a sudden increase in rivers flow and ultimately, paucity of water, which in turn would have a direct bearing on agriculture production.
Scindia asked the government to announce fiscal incentives for energy and water conservation, drip irrigation and weather index-based insurance products for the farm sector as part of a strategy to adapt to changing weather conditions. Referring to the spate of farmer suicides in the country, he said a World Bank study has established a correlation between climatic changes and the suicides. He felt it should act as a warning for all of us.
Joining the discussion, the Shiv Sena’s Suresh Prabhu said global warming was more dangerous than AIDS and weapons of mass destruction.